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Why Is My Betta Fish Changing Color? [Answered]

betta fish changing color

Betta fish are known for their showy appearance resembled by their brightly colored fins and pigmented bodies. However, it is pretty common to see a betta fish changing color. There might be several causes behind changing the color of a betta fish. Let us find out what they are and how to treat such color changes.

A betta fish changing color is a common occurrence and is generally quite treatable depending on the cause behind it. Aging is a common reason behind your betta fish changing color. Thus, changing a betta fish’s color can also be a natural process. Another such natural instance is noticed in the case of marble bettas, which are popular for their color-changing abilities. Other causes for such change in betta’s color include stressful tank conditions, injury, or infections.

Betta Fish Changing Color: Causes

As stated earlier, there might be a number of reasons behind betta fish changing color. Some of them are part of the natural process, while some are caused due to some human interference. Identifying the cause is essential to prevent further illness in the betta fish.

Let us discuss some of the most common causes behind betta fish changing color.


Aging is perhaps the most common cause behind such changes in pigmentation in bettas. Young bettas show forth vibrancy in the colors of the fins and the body. However, with age, it is generally noticed that the vibrancy decreases considerably.

Aging of betta fish old

Usually, it is observed that a betta fish is getting duller in color with age. This might make you wonder why is my betta fish turning black. Age is the most common cause behind your betta fish turning darker in color. The time within which this color change is noticed varies from betta to betta.

Stressful Conditions

Perhaps the most fitting reason behind betta fish changing color after aging is inadequate living conditions. Betta fish are delicate fish and are highly susceptible to stress. This stress, in turn, can cause your betta fish to lose or change their color over time.

Generally, instead of a color change, it is noticed that the betta fish begin to develop a series of horizontal stripes running along the body of the betta. These “stress stripes” should not be confused with breeding stripes, which run vertically. Such stress stripes are more likely to develop in female bettas than male ones.

Thus, stressful tank conditions can play a significant role in changing the color of your betta fish. Therefore, make sure to keep all the tank conditions, like water temperature, pH level, hardness, lighting, etc., up to the mark. The tank water should also be free of unwanted elements like ammonia and chlorine.


An injury can include a variety of different things. Your betta fish may get injured in transit or may have rubbed itself against some hard surface. Such injuries might damage the scales and body color of the betta fish. Once the injured area is healed, it might not look the same as before.


Another common reason behind betta fish changing color is various bacterial and fungal infections that may affect your beta fish. Infections like columnaris, fin rot, white spot disease, and so on are major precursors in changing the color and texture of your betta’s body.

These infections are generally caused due to inadequate water conditions, which cause the growth of various unwanted fungal and bacterial colonies in the tank. These bacterial and fungal groups then attach themselves to the betta fish resulting in ulcers, red spots, and sometimes whitening of the betta.

What Makes Marble Betta Different?

What Makes Marble Betta Different

Having already discussed the various probable causes behind the change in the betta’s color, now we will elucidate upon the exceptional case of a marble betta. Marble bettas are known for their unique color-changing genetic ability that allows them to shift between different color combinations over different periods.

Thus, in the case of a marble betta fish, you may find a black and white betta on one particular day during a pinkish-red betta on some other day. This unreal ability of color shifting makes a marble betta one of a kind. Therefore, if you possess a marble betta fish, you need not worry about betta fish changing color.

Betta Fish Changing Color: Counteraction

Depending on its cause, one can definitely promote the regain of the colors in betta fish. There are also some ways in which you can enhance the color of your betta fish. However, there is no guarantee that these ways would prove to be effective. Well, it does not hurt to try.

Optimized Tank Environment

If you want to prevent your betta fish from losing its colors, do not compromise on the water quality. Ensure a stressless environment for your betta fish by carefully looking into the various parameters like water temperature and pH level.

A good water heater and filtration system are also recommended for your betta tank to maintain a stress-free habitat for the betta fish. To further ensure that the chlorine and ammonia levels are kept in check, conduct periodic water changes and condition the tank water properly.

Color Enhancing Food

To enhance the color of your betta fish, it is generally recommended that you put your betta fish in a diet comprising of foods that promote the development of colors in your betta fish. Some of the most suitable choices include live foods like salmon, daphnia, and bloodworms.

It is also advisable that you get only high-quality foods from trusted brands as feeding low-quality food to your betta fish will further unnecessarily lead to betta fish changing color. It should be noted that the listed counteractive measures are suitable only in the case of unnatural causes and not natural causes like aging.

FAQs On Betta Fish Changing Color

Why is my betta fish turning black?

Aging can cause your betta fish to change into a darker color and become duller in appearance. However, other causes like stressful conditions and injury should not be ignored.

Why is my betta fish turning white?

Various fungal and bacterial infections like fin rot, columnaris, and ich may cause your betta fish to turn white. This is because the microorganisms tend to attach themselves to the betta fish resulting in color change.

How long does it take for a betta to regain its color?

Depending on the cause behind betta fish changing color, it can take anything from two days to a few weeks for a betta fish to completely regain its colors.

Do betta fish change color when they die?

YES. As a matter of fact, if you see your betta fish becoming duller in color, then it may be a sign that your betta fish is dying.

Do betta fish change color with their mood?

If by mood you mean stress, then the answer is yes. Betta fish, if stressed, can show signs of color change.

Final Thoughts

Thus, if you notice your betta fish changing color, then you should not panic. It is pretty standard, and there are ways in which you can improve the betta’s condition. Just make sure that the tank conditions are adequate and try feeding color-enhancing food to your betta fish to see effective results.